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Technology is a Team Sport

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Technology is not slowing down. Public cloud platforms are rapidly expanding their cloud service offerings. For example, in 2019, AWS had thousands of launches and announcements of new services and major features1 – that is a lot of change for one platform!

The rate of change isn’t slowing down, 2020 promises to be an even bigger year for AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft, and cloud-based technology advances. These incremental changes impact the business landscape drastically as customers wants and needs change over time. What was a novel feature last year is slowly becoming the norm –literally the Kano Model in action.2 It’s the beauty but also the challenge of the product and services industry.

Embracing these rapid changes is part of the modern business landscape that we now live in. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT, and Big Data are big buzzwords at the moment. But we’d like to focus on the fundamentals that enable building new capabilities and talk about how to prepare your teams, and organisation to adapt to technology changes faster.

Equipping your team to embrace the changes and opportunities that technology is creating for your industry is a key factor in their satisfaction, as well as your business’ success. It’s a win-win. Developing a culture that embraces change is about changing your organisational culture. Think more carrot than stick. Empower people by enabling a culture that provides the right tools to do the job, shares your business’ vision, defines roles but allows for flexibility within the role.

Teams that embrace change when things get shaken-up have a very different culture to those that dig their heels in. They have the support and bravery to take controlled risks because they feel supported and know that if they fail, they won’t be thrown under the bus. Getting this balance can be tricky, but when it’s right the innovation flows. That innovation is where competitive advantages develop.

Along with being a leader who fosters a ‘change culture’ there are a few other ingredients to navigating your way through digital disruption.

Get the PLATFORM right

McKinsey Global Institute estimates that change is occurring at ten times the pace of the Industrial Revolution, at 300 times the scale, with roughly 3,000 times the impact.3 One of the driving factors of this is the rapid advancement of technology changes.

The best way to handle a changing world is with a platform that embodies just that; one built around evolution, that’s flexible and agile. This is where the cloud comes in.

The cloud is a crucial aspect of any evolving business strategy and the importance of using it to its full potential cannot be overemphasised.

Amazon Web Services, for example, allows the ability to store and use vast quantities of data to play and innovate with. The ability to test and learn, analyse and spot trends, look at things differently begins driving innovation. Investing in a solid infrastructure platform will not only help you adapt to the current technology changes but also set your business to adapt to a constantly changing future.

It’s no coincidence that all of the technologies that are hot buzzwords at the moment rely on cloud infrastructure to power them. We’re talking Chatbots, AI, Data Lakes, Machine Learning, and the IoT, to name a few.

We hosted an event to talk about platforms and change culture in 2018. There’s an event round-up in our blog ‘Embracing the change culture’ where we talk more about the gateway the cloud can provide to innovate.

Make sure your PEOPLE are onboard

Working fully in tandem with the right platform is making sure your people are fully on board; meaning they understand the need to embrace change and have the tools and training to do so.

Some say this is the first step however, technology and people are jointly important as one working well without the other simply won’t be effective. Creating a culture for change, and thus one of innovation is so important.

As Daniel Newman in Forbes4 wrote:

“Technology may be the driving force behind the shifting face of the industry, but it’s how your employees respond that will make—or break—the future of your business.”

It can be tricky convincing people about the need to change as a large proportion of people like routine and as a consequence don’t warm to any alternative ways of doing things. Supportive leadership is an excellent start.

How to keep your people on board

Here are four ways to help make sure your people are on board and stay on board:

Keep the momentum

Keep technology change at the top of your organisation’s agenda. Thankfully, New Zealand organisations are relatively small, so the degrees of separation between different levels of team members are less, meaning conversations and relationships are easier and in many cases, can be face-to-face or personal.

Talk and listen

Talk about it constantly, listen and discuss, as the insights you will hear will always be valuable. People typically resist change, but now embracing it is a necessity in order to drive innovation. Listen to them – if there’s a better way of doing something, your employees will know about it.

Paint the vision

Make sure you talk about the big picture, so people understand your vision for the future. If it’s clear they are more likely to be supportive.

Make it the norm

Change should be part of culture along with learning and growing so these all become part of the “way we do things around here.” Measure, analyse, re-tune and celebrate often. A change culture needs to be overt.

Have a PLAN and be resilient

Adopt the technology that’s right for your business and stick with it for your agreed time frame, measuring, assessing and talking constantly along the way. In our view, the best way to go about this is as follows:

  1. Understand where you are and where you want to be
  2. Assess then decide on a technology platform, where cloud plays a central role
  3. Commit to a timeframe
  4. Measure constantly and fine-tune
  5. Understand that change is hard work, but very rewarding
  6. CELEBRATE your success and your team!

Getting back to the fundamentals and having a clear plan should allow you to cut through the noise in the industry and avoid the magpie approach.

 

References and Further Reading

1 AWS’s launches and preview overview blog from the re:Invent 2019 event held 3rd December 2019

2 The Kano Model

3 McKinsey Global Institute, Digital Revolution comparison to the Industrial Revolution

4 Daniel Newman’s wonderful musings on people not technology for business innovation